Colombia’s top prosecutor said Wednesday that neo-paramilitary groups are seeking to undermine Colombia’s peace talks with rebel group FARC, which is why they are threatening journalists and conflict investigators.
Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre blamed groups that emerged from the demobilized paramilitary organization AUC for the recent attempted assassination of a prominent investigative reporter, an alleged assassination plot against investigators and associated journalists of conflict monitoring NGO Nuevo Arco Iris, and the death threats sent to journalists in the north of Colombia.
The threats against the journalists had been issued by a group called the “Anti-Restitution Army,” which is allegedly aligned with neo-paramilitary groups and likely defending the interests of those who have usurped territory through land theft and corruption. Responsibility for the other incidents has not been claimed.
According to Montealegre, the neo-paramilitary groups are wrong in thinking they can undermine the peace process.
“Those criminal groups and enemies of peace best not think they can undermine this process or that they can destabilize this country with attacks against journalists and against the freedom of speech,” Montealegre said at a forum on press freedom in Bogota.
Colombia has seen a number of high-profile attacks and threats against journalists and analysts over the past few weeks; in Cali, a journalist was assassinated for unknown reasons and a prominent investigative reporter was shot at just outside of the capital Bogota.